The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that New Orleans Saints legends Jahri Evans, Jake Delhomme, Lorenzo Neal, Joe Horn, Wesley Walls, La'Roi Glover, Pat Swilling, Eric Allen, and John Kasay are nominees for the Hall of Fame's Class of 2023.
Evans is one of nine players in their first year of eligibility to make the cut as one of the nominees. The former standout right guard is joined by running back Chris Johnson, offensive lineman Joe Thomas, defensive lineman Dwight Freeney, linebackers NaVorro Bowman and James Harrison, defensive backs Kam Chancellor and Darrelle Revis and punter Shane Lechler.
Evans played 11 seasons for the Saints (2006-16) after being drafted in 2006 as a fourth-round pick out of Bloomsburg. He was crucial in protecting quarterback Drew Brees throughout his tenure. He played on five playoffs teams and earned Pro Bowl honors for six straight seasons (2009-14). He was also inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2020.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme spent two seasons in New Orleans before becoming the starting quarterback of the Carolina Panthers for seven seasons. Delhomme only played in six games with two starts for the Black and Gold, but the Louisiana native blossomed in his role for a fellow NFC South team. Delhomme played seven seasons in Carolina, leading the Panthers to three playoff appearances and Super Bowl XXXVIII. He ranks second in Carolina franchise history with 19,258 passing yards and 120 passing touchdowns for a 82.6 passer rating as a Panther. His 21 game-winning drives are also the most in franchise history.
Neal played four of his 16 NFL years in the Black and Gold (1993-1996). During his time in New Orleans, the fullback tallied 326 yards and three touchdowns in 50 games played. He added an additional 326 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Throughout his career, Neal was elected to four Pro Bowls (three consecutive) and was named to three consecutive All-Pro teams (two first team and one second team).
Horn became a local star receiver in 2000 when he joined the Saints. In that first season, he started all 16 games, tallying 94 catches for 1,340 yards and eight touchdowns, also receiving Pro Bowl honors. He finished his decorated career with the Saints third in franchise history in three categories with 523 receptions for 7,622 yards and 50 touchdowns. He led the team in receptions and receiving yards for five consecutive seasons (2000-04), and he holds the top three individual seasons in receiving yards in team history. Horn was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2010, and he was named to the Pro Bowl in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.
Walls played in 196 career games, totaling 450 receptions, 5,291 receiving yards and 54 receiving touchdowns over 14 seasons with San Francisco, New Orleans, Carolina, and Green Bay. The tight end spent the majority of his career with the Panthers and was a five-time Pro Bowler and four time AP All-Pro honoree with them.
In 2000, Glover led the NFL with 17 sacks – a rare feat and second most ever by a defensive tackle – and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year. He also became a unanimous first-team All-Pro selection and earned a Pro Bowl berth as he helped lead the Saints to a division championship and first playoff win. The team elected Glover to the Saints Hall of Fame for the Class of 2013.
Swilling, a member of the Dome Patrol and Saints Hall of Fame (2000), tallied 17 sacks from the linebacker position and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1991. A third round draft pick out of Georgia Tech, Swilling played in New Orleans from 1986-1992, earning four Pro Bowl honors.
Allen spent 14 years in the NFL as a member of three teams. He spent seven seasons in Philadelphia, three in New Orleans and four in Oakland. The defensive back was selected as a member of an All-Pro team in three seasons. He was elected to the Pro Bowl in six seasons (one in New Orleans), and he finished eighth in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 1993.
Kasay spent 20 years kicking in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers before spending his last season in New Orleans. With the Saints he was 11 for 11 on extra points and 28 for 34 on field goals. He was elected to one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro team. He also finished 8th in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting in 1991.
The roster of nominees consists of 67 offensive players, 50 defensive players and 12 special teams players. The list of Modern-Era Nominees will be reduced to 25 Semifinalists in November and, from there, to 15 Finalists whose names will be announced in early January.
The annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Vote presented by Ford launched today. Fans can start voting as many times as they wish at www.profootballhof.com/fanvote to predict the five Modern-Era Players who will be elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023. (This fan vote is for entertainment purposes only and does not factor into the overall results for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.)